Opener Hazratullah Zazai hit a half-century as Afghanistan beat Bangladesh by eight wickets in the second and final cricket Twenty20 to draw the series 1-1 on Saturday.
Zazai struck an unbeaten 59 runs off 45 balls and shared a 99-run partnership with Usman Ghani for the second wicket to help Afghanistan race to victory with 14 balls to spare.
Darwish Rasooli (9 not out) wrapped up the game, pulling left-arm spinner Nasum Ahmed for a six over deep mid-wicket as Afghanistan finished on 121-2 in reply to Bangladesh’s 115-9.
“We made a few mistakes in our batting in the first game, but we learned from those mistakes in the second game,” Afghanistan captain Mohammad Nabi said. “When we realized that the pitch isn’t that good for batting, we made the plan to restrict them to a lower total.”
Afghanistan lost the first match by 61 runs.
Both teams lined up before the start of play and observed a minute’s silence in memory of Shane Warne and Rod Marsh.
Ghani, who survived twice on 39 and 41, scored 47 runs off 48 balls with five fours and one six.
Zazai and Ghani’s match-defining partnership came after Afghanistan lost Rahmanullah Gurbaz (3).
Zazai’s innings was almost chanceless. He slog-swept left-arm spinner Shakib Al Hasan for six over deep square-leg to reach his third 50 off 37 balls and hit three fours and five sixes.
“We wanted to win the T20s in particular, so I am disappointed with the way it finished today,” Bangladesh coach Russell Domingo said. “We have dropped nine catches in the last five games. If we knew what it was, we probably wouldn’t be doing it. Whether it is the concentration, confidence or dealing with pressure, I am not 100% sure.”
Playing his 100th T20 game for Bangladesh, Mushfiqur Rahim top-scored with 30.
Captain Mahmudullah scored 21 and in the process became the first Bangladeshi batter to reach 2,000 runs in this format.
Liton Das and Mohammad Naim both made 13.
Fast bowlers Fazalhaq Farooqi and Azmatullah Omarzai ripped through Bangladesh, claiming three wickets each after the hosts opted to bat first.
Bangladesh stumbled to 45-4 after which Mushfiqur and Mahmudullah shared 43 runs. After their dismissals, Bangladesh batters failed to hit big in the death overs.
Bangladesh won the three-match ODI series 2-1.